It’s hard to believe, nearly a year has passed, since Boddhi Satva released his critically acclaimed debut album Invocation, on BBE Music. Not only was Invocation Boddhi Satva’s debut album, but it introduced many people to some of Africa’s finest and most talented musicians and singers. This includes Freddy Masamba, C. Robert Walker, Pegguy Tabu, Vivian K, Athenai and Mangala Camara.  However, there was one artist that Boddhi was honored to collaborate with, Oumou Sangaré. She joined Boddhi on Ngnari Konon, one of many highlights of Invocation. Given that Ngnari Konon was one of my personal favorites from Invocation, I’m especially pleased that this is Boddhi Satva’s next single BBE Music will release from Invocation. Like many singles released by BBE Music, Ngnari Konon is no ordinary single. Quite the opposite. It’s a ten-track Magnus Opus of an E.P. Apart from the Main Mix of Ngnari Konon,  there are nine other mixes, including mixes by Boddhi Satva, Louie Vega, Manoo and Josh Milan. Before I tell you about Ngnari Konon E.P, I’ll tell you about Oumou Sangaré, The Songbird of Wassoulou.

Oumou Sangaré was born in Bamako, the largest city in Mali in 1968. From an early age, Oumou Sangaré sang to help her mother provide food for the rest of their family. Her father had abandoned them, so it was up to Oumou Sangaré and her mother to provide for their family. Then at the age of five, Oumou Sangaré’s talent as a singer was spotted. She was entered into a competition for all the nursery schools in Bamako. Having made it to the final in Bamako, Oumou Sangaré sang in front of six-thousand people. Then when Oumou Sangaré was sixteen, she started her career in music.

By 1990, Oumou Sangaré had released her debut album Moussolou, which sold over 200,000 copies. Then, with the guiding hand of Ali Farka Toure, Oumou Sangaré signed to the British label World Circuit. Her sophomore album Ko Sira followed in 1993. After that, three further albums followed. Three years later, Worotan was released in 1996, with Oumou following in 2003 and Seya in 2009. In 2010, Seya was nominated for a Grammy Award, for Best Contemporary World Music Album. A year later, Oumou Sangaré won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. However, this wasn’t for one of her solo albums. Instead, it was for Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project. The Grammy wasn’t the only illustrious award Oumou Sangaré has won.

Away from music, and her life as a singer and musician, Oumou Sangaré The Songbird of Wassoulou, is an an advocate for women’s rights. Previously, Oumou Sangaré has protesed against child marriage and polygamy. In 2001, Oumou Sangaré was jointly awarded the IMC-International Music Prize. Then in 2003, she was made Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 2003. Away from music, In 2001, Oumou Sangaré owns several successful businesses. Until last year, when In 2001, Oumou Sangaré featured on Boddhi Satva’s Invocation, many people weren’t aware of this remarkable, singer, musician, humanitarian and businessperson. Once they’ve heard, Oumou Sangaré’s voice on Ngnari Konon, they’ll never forget her. 

Ngnari Konon opens with dialogue between Oumou and Boddhi, before giving way to dark and foreboding synths. They’re augmented by percussion, flutes and koras. Then, quickly, pounding drums enter, dominating the arrangement, as Oumou’s vocal enters. Her vocal is a mixture of emotion, passion and power. Backing vocalists accompany her, while the drums are accompanied by percussion, flutes and koras. African and Western music combines seamlessly. Oumou’s vocal has a joyous quality, uplifting and with a spiritual quality. Add to that the thunderous drums and proliferation of percussion, koras and flutes and you’ve a track that’s not only joyous and beautiful, but uplifting and spiritual.

Apart from the Main Mix of Ngnari Konon there are also nine other remixes of the track. This is something BBE Music have done before. It’s a fascinating concept, allowing you to hear how different remixers approach the same track. After all, each remixer starts with the same stems. From there, they each approach the track differently. Boddhi Satva has two remixes, the Ancestral Soul Mix and the Ancestral Poetry Mix. Both are among the highlights of the nine remixes. Louise Vega, one half of Masters At Work remixes the track three times. This includes the Roots Remix, DJ Tools and Ritual II Mix, which is the best of the three. Manoo also has three remixes on the E.P. These are the Maffe Mix, Yassa Deep Mix and the Ambassade Mix. Of the three the Yassa Deep Mix stands out. The final mix of Ngnari Konon is Josh Milan’s Honeycomb Mix, which is a case of saving one of the best until last. Each of these nine remixes of Ngnari Konon bring something new and different to the original track, and demonstrate just how differently each remixer approaches a track. However, each remixer and remix has one thing in common. Each remixer loves music, while every remix is of the highest quality.

So, nearly a year after the release of what was my favorite album of 2012, Boddhi Satve’s debut album Invocation, I still find Invocation one of the most enchanting, captivating and compelling albums of the past few years. Eclectic, emotive, uplifting, spiritual and beautiful, Invocation is all these things and much, much more. One of the many highlights of Invocation was Ngnari Konon, where Boddhi Satva was honored to be joined by Oumou Sangaré, The Songbird of Wassoulou. The result was Ngnari Konon, a track that’s not only joyous and beautiful, but uplifting and spiritual. Ngnari Konon will soon be released by BBE Music, as Boddhi Satva’s next single from Invocation. Together with nine remixes, where the original version of Ngnari Konon, are reinterpreted, and transformed into something new and innovative.  Quite simply, Ngnari Konon is the perfect introduction into both Boddhi Satva and Oumou Sangaré, The Songbird of Wassoulou. 


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